Seahawks Reinforce Secondary, Acquire S Quandre Diggs from Lions
Only mere hours after the NFC West-leading 49ers landed receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the Seahawks countered with a move of their own to improve their secondary.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Seattle will send a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Lions in exchange for versatile defensive back Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick. No corresponding move to create room for him on the 53-man roster has yet to be announced.
Diggs, 26, broke into the league as a sixth-round selection out of Texas in 2015, appearing in all 16 games as a rookie for the Lions. During his five NFL seasons, he’s played extensive snaps as a slot cornerback as well as strong safety.
Since becoming a full-time starter for the Lions midway through the 2017 season, Diggs produced 152 tackles, six interceptions, and 17 passes defensed and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate last year. As a reward for his performance, he signed a new three-year, $18 million extension in September 2018.
This season, Diggs has started five games for Detroit, producing 20 tackles. He also was named a team captain, which may explain why now-former teammates such as Darius Slay weren't too pleased to learn he had been traded.
From Seattle's perspective, this trade may have been made to upgrade the nickel cornerback position, as Diggs played over 400 snaps in the slot as recently as 2017. However, with cap hits north of $6 million in 2020 and 2021 as well as the struggles of starter Tedric Thompson, it’s also possible the Seahawks will play him at one of the safety spots.
The 5-foot-9, 197-pound Diggs ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and exhibits the range and instincts to excel at free safety. He’s also physical enough to play in the box and emerged as one of Detroit’s best defenders at the strong safety position, though his tackling has been inconsistent at times.
Regardless of where Seattle chooses to deploy Diggs, the writing appears to be on the wall for Thompson, who is in coach Pete Carroll’s doghouse after allowing Lamar Jackson to hit Myles Boykin for a 50-yard gain in Sunday’s loss to the Ravens.
“Well, we made a big mistake early.” Carroll bluntly told reporters on Monday. “Gave them a freebie down the field. That’s just distasteful. I hate that we gave them that because there’s no way that should’ve happened.”
After acquiring Diggs and raving about rookie Marquise Blair’s performance on Sunday, Thompson appears to have run out of chances. Even with two clutch interceptions in the past three games, he’s given up enough explosive pass plays to warrant losing his job.
Seattle may also be concerned about the health of starting strong safety Bradley McDougald, who missed Sunday’s game with back spasms. If the injury turns out to be more significant, Diggs and Blair could team up as the new starting safety tandem.
Once Seattle returns to practice on Wednesday, it will become a bit more clear how the team intends to use Diggs. But he’s an intriguing addition for a secondary that certainly needed a shake up and the Seahawks defense just got much better.